Congressional Candidate Barry Michaels Files Suit To Get Gun Rights Back For Millions of Non-Violent Felons
3/16/2016 (PRESS RELEASE JET) -- On March 15, 2016, attorneys Michael E. Zapin and Herman A. Saitz filed a Class Action lawsuit against Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the United States and Thomas E. Brandon, as Deputy Director and Head of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on behalf of their client, Barry Michaels and millions of others similarly situated.
Barry Michaels is a Democrat running for United States Congress in Nevada’s 3rdDistrict (www.michaelsforcongress.com). Michaels is a non-violent felon whose conviction dates back nearly twenty years. Under current federal law, he is unable to possess a firearm to protect himself and his family.
Since completing his sentence, Michaels returned to school and graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration. He has over fifty years of business experienceand continues to be involved in several business ventures including Avatar Airlines (www.avatarairlines.com), an ultra low-fare national airline currently in the startup phase.
Michaels alleges a provision of the Federal Gun Control Act as applied to him and millions of other similarly situated law-abiding citizens, violate their constitutional rightunder the Second Amendment, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
The statute in question is 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(1), which makes it a crimepunishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, for "every" person "who has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year...to possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition."
Michaels alleges that the statute’s original purpose was to protect the public from violentoffenders. He believes that the statute is too broad as written and should have been narrowly tailored to meet the government's compelling interest to prevent violence.
“There is no justification for applying the statute to non-violent felons that have been law-abiding for more than five years, since there is no data to suggest that they are any more dangerous or any more likely to commit a violent crime, than any other law-abiding citizen,” Michaels argues.
The complaint also addresses several other questions of law as applied to the class:
• What constitutes a “law-abiding citizen?”
• What constitutes punishment?
• Is the statute in fact an unlawful Bill of Attainder?
• Does the statute violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment?
• Does a lifetime ban violate the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment?
There are approximately 20 million felons representing over 8% of our country's population and nearly half of them are non-violent offenders. There is no logicalargument which can be made, nor empirical data presented, to indicate a direct correlation between the public’s safety and the non-violent offenders. The lawsuit is as much about civil liberties and the constitution, as it is about Mr. Michaels’ desire to own a firearm for self-protection and other lawful purposes.
Michaels states, “it makes no sense to me that I’m able to serve in Congress or even become President of the United States, but ‘me and Martha Stuart’ are both barred for the rest of our lives from owning a firearm to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Something is wrong with this picture. The idea of creating second class citizenscontradicts the clear language of the Second Amendment.”
A copy of the complaint can be viewed and printed at: www.michaelsvslynch.com
Class Members can join at: (www.americansforcivilrights.org/join-the-class-action) there is no cost to members.
For more information or to schedule an interview call:
Michael E. Zapin, Esq.
LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL E. ZAPIN
Counsel for Plaintiffs
20283 State Rd. 7
Boca Raton, FL 33498
Tel. No. 561-330-5732
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